Today is Father’s Day and we are not going to church. While we may have attended if something had not come up, I was secretly hoping that something would come up. I’ll be very honest. I hate attending church on the “parent” holidays. I will cry uncontrollably and no I’m not depressed. It stems from an incident that happened 12 years ago.
When my husband and I got married, I suddenly developed a lot of medical problems that was related to the Depo shot. The doctors told us that having children would be impossible for us. I felt like my heart had been ripped out. I dreamed of having a lot of kids. I had three brothers and I loved being in a ‘big’ family.
We found out 8 days before my husband was to deploy to Afghanistan that I was pregnant! That was on a Friday. However, something was horribly wrong; I was in pain and bleeding. By Monday, the baby was gone. It felt like I had been shot in the chest. For the next few days my husband comforted me and tried his best to help me through the heartache. But another heartache was looming just a few days away. On Saturday, he was gone. He deployed to Afghanistan.
There I was alone. I had just lost a baby that I desperately wanted and my husband was gone. I did what most Army wives do. I dug down deep and I mustered all the strength I had to continue on each day. Some days were better than others. For the first few weeks, I cried a lot and felt broken. However, time with God in devotion and prayer helped me overcome. I also had a wonderful job working with children at a private preschool and elementary school.
Fast forward one month to Mother’s Day. I spent my morning thinking about the baby that I lost. I felt that God had impressed on me that though I lost the baby, I could consider the baby to be hope. Hope that one day I would have a child. Hope that Matt and I would share the joys and hardships of parenting. After all, the doctors had told us that I would never conceive. Well that was proven wrong! I finally felt peace about losing the baby. I could mentally lay the incident to rest. I couldn’t wait to tell a few lady friends at church about the revelation and peace that God had given me.
I told the Pastor’s wife and she understood what I meant. I told another lady about what God had impressed upon me. I said that it was kinda ironic that it happened on the day our country honors mothers. She replied that it meant nothing because I wasn’t a real mother and it wasn’t a real baby so I should have already gotten over it. I spent the rest of the day in shock. It felt like the world was dizzy all over again. The peace that I felt was like a distant light that I could barely see. I was back to square one.
In June a dear friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I went to see her in the hospital. I was so happy for her and her family. The baby was one of the most precious and beautiful babies that I had seen. I told them I had to go as soon as I felt the tears coming. I did not know why I was crying. I was so happy for them and was excited to be able to have a new bundle of joy at church.
I figured it out that the person from church did not just reopen a wound. They caused more wounds that I could ever imagine. It would be the equivalent of someone shooting at me with buckshot. There were more wounds than I could count. I have since forgiven this person and would travel across the country if they called needing help. That’s what friends do for each other…especially when we have been associated with the military. We all move often but remain deeply attached.
The adage time heals all wounds is a lie. There are some wounds that do not heal completely. There will be certain environments that cause the pain and emotion to swell back to memory without the person realizing that it’s happening. Every Mother’s and Father’s Day I hear those words again. I can push them aside as my three children (currently ages 10, 8, & 6) come rushing to tell me Happy Mother’s Day and give me the biggest hugs in the world. However, when I go to church (it doesn’t matter the church) I feel the rush of emotions all over again. Some years I can control the tears until I leave church and I get in my truck then I fight the tears until I can go home and hide to cry it out. Other years I suddenly develop a stomach ache while at church, then I hide in the women’s bathroom until church is over.
- Is it bitterness? No.
- Is it unforgiveness? No.
- Is it anger? No.
- Is it depression? No.
It is a hurt that cannot be healed. Perhaps more time will make the difference. After all, I spend many holidays without my husband because he is still Active Duty. Perhaps that will help it improve. Perhaps being near my mother on Mother’s Day would make it better. I guess only time will tell. (Of course, I know in the court of public opinion. Many will offer advice and ways to get over it…etc. But to be honest I don’t want to hear it unless you have been in this situation.) I’m not upset at anyone or any church for taking the time to honor Mother’s and Father’s. In fact, I believe these days are important for reminding people of all ages the importance of motherhood and fatherhood.
So on these parent holidays, I choose not to attend church. I choose to be where I feel loved and without painful memories. I’ll be back at church the following Sunday, of course. Words are perhaps the most deadly weapon we can use against someone. I once read that for every negative thing that is said to someone it takes 10 positive things to counteract the harm done. Some harm can’t be undone easily. Watch your words carefully. You never know how they will affect someone.